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Infiltration and hydraulic connections from the Niagara River to a fractured-dolomite aquifer in Niagara Falls, New York

Journal of Hydrology

By:
and
DOI: 10.1016/S0022-1694(98)00088-2

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Abstract

The spatial distribution of hydrogen and oxygen stable-isotope values in groundwater can be used to distinguish different sources of recharge and to trace groundwater flow directions from recharge boundaries. This method can be particularly useful in fractured-rock settings where multiple lines of evidence are required to delineate preferential flow paths that result from heterogeneity within fracture zones. Flow paths delineated with stable isotopes can be combined with hydraulic data to form a more complete picture of the groundwater flow system. In this study values of ??D and ??18O were used to delineate paths of river-water infiltration into the Lockport Group, a fractured dolomite aquifer, and to compute the percentage of fiver water in groundwater samples from shallow bedrock wells. Flow paths were correlated with areas of high hydraulic diffusivity in the shallow bedrock that were delineated from water-level fluctuations induced by diurnal stage fluctuations in man-made hydraulic structures. Flow paths delineated with the stable-isotope and hydraulic data suggest that fiver infiltration reaches an unlined storm sewer in the bedrock through a drainage system that surrounds aqueducts carrying river water to hydroelectric power plants. This finding is significant because the storm sewer is the discharge point for contaminated groundwater from several chemical waste-disposal sites and the cost of treating the storm sewer's discharge could be reduced if the volume of infiltration from the river were decreased.The spatial distribution of hydrogen and oxygen stable-isotope values in groundwater can be used to distinguish different sources of recharge and to trace groundwater flow directions from recharge boundaries. This method can be particularly useful in fractured-rock settings where multiple lines of evidence are required to delineate preferential flow paths that result from heterogeneity within fracture zones. Flow paths delineated with stable isotopes can be combined with hydraulic data to form a more complete picture of the groundwater flow system. In this study values of ??D and ??18O were used to delineate paths of river-water infiltration into the Lockport Group, a fractured dolomite aquifer, and to compute the percentage of river water in groundwater samples from shallow bedrock wells. Flow paths were correlated with areas of high hydraulic diffusivity in the shallow bedrock that were delineated from water-level fluctuations induced by diurnal stage fluctuations in man-made hydraulic structures. Flow paths delineated with the stable-isotope and hydraulic data suggest that river infiltration reaches an unlined storm sewer in the bedrock through a drainage system that surrounds aqueducts carrying river water to hydroelectric power plants. This finding is significant because the storm sewer is the discharge point for contaminated groundwater from several chemical waste-disposal sites and the cost of treating the storm sewer's discharge could be reduced if the volume of infiltration from the river were decreased.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Infiltration and hydraulic connections from the Niagara River to a fractured-dolomite aquifer in Niagara Falls, New York
Series title:
Journal of Hydrology
DOI:
10.1016/S0022-1694(98)00088-2
Volume
206
Issue:
1-2
Year Published:
1998
Language:
English
Publisher:
Elsevier Sci B.V.
Publisher location:
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Hydrology
First page:
84
Last page:
97